Jardin Botanique Montreal – Outdoor Gardens

On Saturday (6/17), we headed out to the botanical garden, which was an easy subway ride from our hotel.    The place is huge – there’s also an insectarium and a biodome you can visit – I don’t know how people do it.     We managed maybe a quarter of the outside gardens, and the conservatory (that’ll be the next entry).    I need to go back – there are still things I want to see that we didn’t get to.

I really loved how much in the outdoor gardens were plants I could grow in my own garden – I was taking (picture) notes left and right when labels were available.

Governor’s Garden at the Chateau Ramezay

This garden was a really cool find – it’s attached to the Chateau Ramezay Museum and Historic site, but had free access.    It’s set up with sections reminiscent of an earlier 18th century garden in New France.    There’s a potager, an orchard and ornamental sections.    I was so excited to see this – it’s along the lines of the kind of garden I’d like to set up if I had my own space to play with.

Old Montreal and Cirque du Soleil

Here’s where the vacation became international – on Friday morning, we headed up to Montreal.    (It’s an easy two hour drive from Burlington.   What ended up not being easy was finding our hotel, since they’re rebuilding the main bridge over the St. Lawrence, and the road closures are epic, and random.)

We stayed at the edge of Chinatown, which is right next to Old Montreal.   It was two blocks away to be able to wander around the old town, which was lovely.    It actually reminded me quite a bit of the Old Port here, but with older buildings, and more of them.

That night, we had Cirque du Soleil tickets, for Volta.     They were set up on one of the quays on the river, right over the hill from our hotel.    The show was fantastic.   It’s just absolutely amazing what the performers are able to achieve.

I don’t speak French, but I can pick up enough to know that the main clown of the show was an American who was basically telling everyone how bad his French was.    That was fairly funny, considering I otherwise pretty much had no idea what he was saying.

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The above is an example of one of the projections you could see on the sides of many of the buildings at night.   In some cases, they were part of the 375th anniversary celebration for the city.   In other cases, they were adds.     In all cases, they were pretty cool.   I’m a bit surprised I haven’t seen this done elsewhere.   (Though I can see it running into Maine’s billboard law.)

Actual picture date: 6/16/17.

Descanso Gardens – La Canada Flintridge, CA

The other garden we visited was Descanso, which is more of a local garden.   Not as large as Huntington, but certainly beloved – the line to get in was crazy!    I was able to use my Coastal Maine Botanical Garden reciprocal membership here – first use of that for the year, even ahead of my garden.

My sister had been here before to see the lilacs, and it turns out they have North America’s largest collection of camellias.     They also had a great Spring show of tulips.    But I think my favorite part was the back of  the garden, where they had a native California plant collection.    I’ll always go for the wildflowers, when I can.

Huntington Botanical Gardens – San Marino, CA

I’ve been to the Huntington once before, the first time I ever visited my sister, back in the misty depths of time before I owned a digital camera (hard to believe there was a time when that was the case).    It’s one of those places you can visit many, many times because it’s so huge (and I’m not even counting the art collection – the museum is whole other side of the place).    That first visit was the first time I’d ever seen blooming aloe – it was before I’d ever visited Phoenix, and their desert garden was the first large scale experience I had with those kinds of plants.

This trip, we mainly tooled through the Chinese Garden, and the Herb Garden.    I’ll admit the herb garden was my favorite – it was mostly the kind of thing that I can grow, and completely in my garden style wheelhouse.

California

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I got back on Tuesday from a whirlwind trip to California.   I had originally been scheduled to fly out the Tuesday before, but Mother Nature chose to grace us with sixteen inches of snow that day.    Fortunately, I’d seen the writing on the wall that weekend, and moved my flight out to Thursday.

The main purpose of the visit was to meet my niece M, current holder of the World’s Most Adorable Baby title, so this trip was lighter on daily activities than most.    We did still manage a few garden visits, because what good is visiting Southern California in March if you don’t take advantage of the weather?

There was also some good Mexican food, pizza, and ice cream, and I managed three books over the trip.    All and all, a good taste of summer at the tail end of winter.